NASA awards water survey mission launch contract to SpaceX

NASA awards water survey mission launch contract to SpaceX

NASA's Surface Water & Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, which will conduct first-ever survey of Earth's surface water, will ride to orbit aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. The launch will take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in April 2021.

The Government-run American space agency announced that it awarded the contract for launching the SWOT mission to Elon Musk-led SpaceX.

The satellite will survey more than 90 per cent of the globe's surface water sources, including lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans. It will study the water systems at least two times every 21 days.

In a newly released statement, NASA said, "Designed to make the first-ever global survey of Earth's surface water, in addition to high-resolution ocean measurements, the SWOT mission will collect detailed measurements of how water bodies on Earth change over time."

The total cost of launching the mission is approximately $112 million, which includes costs of launching the service, spacecraft processing, payload integration and telemetry support.

SpaceX's Falcon 9, which suffered a setback during testing in Florida in early September, is expected to return to flight by the end of this year.